String of thefts puts Momo’s Cheesecakes ‘honor system’ in jeopardy

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Momo’s Cheesecake in Ellsworth isn’t just famous for having some of the state’s best cheesecakes and fudge, it’s also one of the few businesses left that uses the honor system.

You can stop by Momo’s anytime, day or night, grab what you need, and either leave cash in the box, or pay through Venmo. It’s a system they’ve used successfully since they opened seven years ago.

But a recent string of thefts at Momo’s has left them wondering if that can continue.

The new cameras at Momo’s Cheesecake caught the perpetrators stealing in broad daylight; one woman - literally holding a wallet - walking out with two large bundles of fudge without leaving a cent.

Just hours later, a young man in a black hooded sweatshirt took it a step further, according to Momo’s owner Brenda Ledezma.

“He had three slices put on the table, he walked over to the money box, put one bill in, went back to his cakes and then backed up, and then opened the box and grabbed a bunch of change. So then he grabbed his cake and as he was walking out my husband was walking in, and he ran in the house and we checked the cameras, and sure enough he stole the cash and the cakes,” Ledezma said.

Ledezma notified the public through a Facebook post Thursday that the new cameras can clearly see who’s coming in and out, and who’s honoring the honor system. She’s chosen not to make the video public this time, but says it will be the last time.

“The next time I catch someone in here stealing, I don’t want to do it, but I will put the video up,” Ledezma said.

“To me it’s incredible how these people can be so disrespectful to somebody trying to make a good living,” Ledezma’s husband Andres said. “It’s sad. Especially for these small towns, where everybody knows everybody. It’s very sad.”

“It just makes me have to not trust everybody that comes in,” said Ledezma. “Everybody feels good coming in here. I don’t want that taken away from everybody. It’s not fair for the people at the hospital that come out at night. It’s not fair for the road crews. It’s not fair for the people who work 24-hour shifts. It’s not fair for those people. We’ve made it convenient for everybody to be able to come whenever they can do it.”

Ledezma says she’s determined to keep the honor system in place, and she has a message for those that took advantage of that system.

“They know who they are. They know they did wrong, and I’m sure they’ve seen the Facebook posts. If they need food, we’ll leave it for them. If they need money, they need help with something? We’ll give it to them. We’re always doing for people. Just don’t steal from us. Or anybody else.”

You can see Momo’s post about the recent thefts on their Facebook page.